Darwin Day Lecture: The Botanical Adventures of Charles Darwin with Jim Costa, Executive Director, Highlands Biological Station; Charles Darwin is well known for such landmark works as On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man. Far fewer appreciate that he wrote some 17 books in all, and half a dozen were botanical in nature: from orchids and carnivorous plants to flower structure, cross-pollination, and movement in plants. In his decades of observation and incessant, creative experimenting – often with the help of his family, friends, and correspondents – plants became Darwin’s go-to group as he sought to counter his critics and marshal evidence for evolution by natural selection. Darwin’s botanical adventures hold lessons for us today, exemplifying the essence of scientific inquiry. The multitude of Darwin’s home-spun and seemingly odd botanical experiments are easily replicated today at home and school.
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